Phnom Penh, February 08, 2011
The 11th century temple in honour the Hindu god Shiva, Preah Vihear, is the most celebrated example of ancient Khmer architecture outside of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat. The temple ruins have largely withstood decades of war, but are again at the centre of a deadly border dispute with neighbouring Thailand.
French colonial surveyors in 1907 drew a map showing Preah Vihear temple perched along the Dangrek mountain range inside Cambodia.
Thailand does not regard that map as valid. Its troops occupied it in the 1950s, but were forced to leave after the World Court in 1962 accepted Cambodia’s ownership claim.
The temple was also the scene of the final surrender of several hundred remaining Khmer Rouge guerrillas in 1998.
The issue lay dormant for years until Preah Vihear was listed as a UN World Heritage site in July 2008, reigniting nationalist fervour on both sides.